Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Grieving mother wants gun controls

Nicole Hockley, right, watches as Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy signs legislation that includes new restrictions on weapons (AP)

The mother of a British boy shot dead in the Sandy Hook school massacre has spoken of "finding her voice" in the campaign for gun law changes.

Six-year-old Dylan Hockley was one of 20 children and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

Every morning his mother Nicole Hockley kisses his urn before focusing on her campaign for tighter restrictions on guns, she told American television station CBS.

She and the families of some other children killed in the shooting will bring their emotional campaign for "common sense laws" to a national level when President Barack Obama travels to Connecticut. It comes a week after the group helped to push through the nation's most restrictive firearms law in the state.

Mrs Hockley said: "For many of us, coming up to the four-month anniversary we're only just starting to find our voices, and to be able to come out of that initial state of shock and to be able to do something actively ourselves. We are not going anywhere - we are gaining momentum now to prepare for this marathon."

British-born Dylan had moved to the US with his American mother, British father Ian and older brother Jake from Eastleigh in Hampshire two years ago.

His body was found in the embrace of his classroom assistant, Anne Marie Murphy.

Mrs Hockley, who is now working full-time for the campaign using her marketing skills, described the young boy, who had autism, as "always laughing and smiling" before underlining her lifelong commitment to fighting for change.

"We had Dylan cremated, so I have his urn next to his picture in a cupboard in our bedroom on our dresser," she said. "Every morning I kiss him good morning and say hi, and he's the last thing I kiss before I go to bed at night and every night I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so I can see him again, and during the day I just focus on what I need to do to honour him to make change."

The families, who have come together to form campaign group Sandy Hook Promise, are urging senators to vote to expand background checks for gun purchases, strengthen laws against gun trafficking and ban ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. During their lobbying the families have carried photos of their children so politicians can "see what's gone and remember this isn't just about political parties, this isn't just about careers, this is about people and this is about making change to save people".